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Tag: Chris Christie

Trump’s Nominee for FBI Director Still Represents Gov. Christie in Bridgegate Scandal

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Even after President Trump nominated Christopher Wray for the new FBI director post, the attorney continues to work as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s personal attorney in connection with the Bridgegate investigation, trial and aftermath.

Wray, whose law firm has collected $2.1 million from New Jersey taxpayers, never stopped his legal work seven months after two of the governor’s former aides were found guilty of conspiring to shut down George Washington Bridge access lanes, the Asbury Park Press reports. 

Trump nominated Wray on June 7 after the president fired James Comey as the FBI’s director.

A hearing has yet to be set on Wray’s confirmation.

Wray is collecting $340 an hour.

Christie, a Trump adviser, has a close relationship with Wray and said the attorney who “would provide great leadership at the FBI.”

But Christie continues to evade questions about his role in Wray’s nomination.

“I don’t talk about what advice I give to the president of the United States,” Christie said.

Trump Chooses Christopher A. Wray As Next FBI Director to Replace Comey

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump announced this morning on Twitter that he will nominate Christopher A. Wray to be the next director of the FBI.

Wray, a Yale Law School graduate who was working as an attorney in the private sector, previously served as assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.

Wray also was the attorney for Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the bridge scandal. Christie told NewJersey.com that he has “the utmost confidence in Chris.”

“I have the utmost confidence in Chris. He’s an outstanding lawyer. He has absolute integrity and honesty, and I think that the president certainly would not be making a mistake if he asked Chris Wray to be FBI director,” Christie said Thursday. 

Christie declined to say whether he had a role in Trump’s decision.

Trump interviewed Wray for the job last week.

Among the other candidates for the top FBI job were Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. 

Trump was having trouble finding a new FBI chief, especially after news broke that bureau Director James Comey was pressured by Trump to pledge allegiance to the president and to end the Russia investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey is expected to testify Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Here is the Justice Department’s brief history on Wray:

Christopher Asher Wray was born in 1967. He graduated from Yale University in 1989 and received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1992. He then clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In 1993, Mr. Wray started working in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1997, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2001, he served at Main Justice as an Associate Deputy Attorney General and, later, as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General.

Asbury Park Press: Gov. Chris Christie Should Soon Stand Trial in Bridge Scheme

Gov. Chris Christie/state photo

Chris Christie

By Editorial Board
Asbury Park Press

Jury selection will begin Thursday in the trial of two former senior staff members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration: Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff.

Both were indicted in May 2015 on charges of fraud, conspiracy and civil rights violations for their alleged role in the politically motivated George Washington Bridge lane-closure scheme three years ago this month.

But Baroni and Kelly won’t be the only ones on trial. So, too, will be Gov. Chris Christie, whose insistence that he had nothing to do with ordering the lane closures and knew nothing about them until long after the lane closings occurred, likely will either be confirmed or revealed as a lie during the course of the testimony.

Adding even more interest to one of New Jersey’s most highly anticipated trials in years will be the presence of Kelly’s high-powered defense attorney, Michael Critchley, whose exploits were detailed in Tuesday’s Press (“Feds may have hard case to prove in Bridgegate trial.”)

Among the defendants he has cleared were Michael “Mad Dog” Taccetta and 19 other reputed members of the Lucchese crime family, and a Newark police officer who was found, gun in hand, standing in his former bedroom by the naked body of his ex-wife’s lover.

Federal Probe Focuses on New Jersey Gov. Christie’s Former Campaign Manager, Appointee

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

People connected to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s former campaign manager have been questioned by the FBI, CNN reports.

Bill Stepien said federal agents came to his house and also interviewed people who know him.

“In recent weeks, federal criminal investigators have made their interest in him plain, traveling to his home and importuning his landlord and presumably others to provide information about his conduct and character,” Stepien’s lawyer, Kevin Marino, said.

Christie appointee Bridget Anne Kelly also received a visit from the FBI, CNN reported.

The interactions are the first clear sign that the FBI wants to question people with close ties to the governor, CNN reported.

FBI Agents Questioning Aides to Gov. Chris Christie Over Hurricane Sandy

Gov. Chris Christie/state photo

Chris Christie

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is beginning to investigate whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie threatened to pull the plug on Hurricane Sandy relief money if a city mayor failed to support a billion-dollar development, NBC News reports.

Agents are questioning witnesses and asking them to preserve any records related to the accusations made by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Zimmer’s chief of staff and communications director were among those interviewed, according to NBC News.

“It’s very clear partisan politics are at play here as Democratic mayors with a political axe to grind come out of the woodwork,” Christie spokesman Colin Reed said in an email last weekend.

Justice Department Investigates Whether Laws Broken During New Jersey Bridge Scandal

Christopher Christie

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators are trying to determine whether any laws were broken during the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The Port Authority Office of Inspector General has referred the matter to us, and our office is reviewing the matter to determine whether a federal law was implicated,” Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in New Jersey, said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s close aides are accused of engineering the traffic lane by closing lanes leading to the bridge, the Journal wrote.

Whether a crime was committed is another question.

“There’s federal funds in this thing, but does that mean there’s a federal crime? It’s hard to tell right now if there’s anything like that,” Stephen Ryan, a former federal prosecutor, said. “The real risk in a thing like this is a coverup or a lie to investigators.”

Ex-U.S. Atty. Christie Exaggerates About Number of Crooked Pols He Put Behind Bars

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

What’s a little exaggeration among friends?

The Newark Star-Ledger and PolitiFact called ex-U.S. Attorney turned N.J. Gov. Chris Christie on his exaggeration the other day.

Christie said at a town hall meeting  that as Newark U.S. Attorney he put behind bars  10 percent of the state legislature for various crimes. The figure is actually less than 3 percent, the story says.

“Really?” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said in an e-mail responding to the challenge by the paper. “Every other person in the audience understood the Governor was making a rhetorical point about his extensive record in combating political corruption as U.S. Attorney and not, as you seem to be suggesting, citing, with great exactitude, some baseball statistic.”

“The Governor was emphasizing, conversationally, the gravity of the corruption which in those years reached into the highest levels of the legislature as well as high-ranking party bosses and operatives, and former legislators across this state – an extensive and politically powerful rogues gallery. Honestly, if you were actually in attendance at the town hall, heard his tone and inflection when he made this remark — and were around in those years in New Jersey — you would know that,” Drewniak said.

Still, the paper wrote, the “governor can make a point about his record on corruption without saying he put 10 percent of the state Legislature in jail. That’s just not true.”

 

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-U.S. Atty and Current Gov. Chris Christie Tries to End Speculation About Presidential Bid: There’s “Zero Chance”

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-New Jersey U.S. Attorney and current Governor Chris Christie tried Wednesday to put an end to speculation that he might make a bid for president as a Republican in 2012.

Appearing on NBC’s Today show, Christie, 48, told Ann Curry:

“There is no chance , zero chance, under any circumstances. Close the door, nail it shut…The fact is I’m not running.”

Curry then asked the beefy governor about his weight loss, which has fueled speculation about a presidential bid.

“You’re also losing weight, how much?” asked an insistent Curry.

“We don’t give numbers out Ann, we set ourselves up for failure,” he said, as Curry kept pressing him. “Look at you , you don’t have to worry about it.”

I feel better,” he added about his weight loss. “What’s most important is I started to do this because I have four children between 7 and 17 and I want to be here for them for the long haul. They’re not worried about the numbers and neither am I. It’s that I’m feeling better, we’re moving in the right direction. Just like New Jersey. We’re not better yet, but were moving in the right direction.”

He was elected governor in November 2009 and served as U.S. Attorney from 2002 to 2008.